Three PhD students successfully defend thesis

April 2015

The past month has been a successful one for our graduate students, three of whom have successfully defended their PhD thesis. Congratulations to Zaher, Cui and Hazem!

Zaher Jabbour
Thesis Title: Clinical and pre-clinical investigation of bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ)

Supervised by Dr. Rubens Ferreira Albuquerque

Up to 15% of cancer patients treated with bisphosphonates develop Bisphosphonate-Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw. In his project, Zaher assessed the outcomes of different treatment modalities for the management of the necrosis, including conventional and surgical modalities as well as bisphosphonate interruption. They also investigated possible links between the necrosis and bacterial infection. The outcomes of this work helps to establish clinical guidelines for the prevention and management of affected patients.

Cui Cui
Thesis title: The Role of Transglutaminase Activity in Plasma Fibronectin Homeostasis in Bone

Supervised by Dr. Mari Kaartinen, co-supervised by Dr. Simon Tran

The findings in Cui’s thesis demonstrate that plasma fibronectin assembly and stabilization into osteoblast extracellular matrix requires Factor XIII-A crosslinking activity both in vitro and in vivo. Serotonin, a well-known neurotransmitter for human mood, can interfere with Factor XIII-A-mediated plasma fibronectin assembly via serotonylation peripherally. This impairs the quality of bone matrix and bone cell function.

Hazem Eimar
Thesis Title: Cholinergic Regulation of Bone

Supervised by Dr. Faleh Tamimi

Recent research indicated that certain neurons can regulate bone metabolism and that their damage results in weaker bones. But little is known about the potential effect of the increased activity that these neurons might have on bone. Our data suggest that a specific group of drugs, that in theory could increase the activity of bone-regulating neurons, are able to strengthen our bone, reduce risk of fracture and accelerate fracture healing. This work may help identify new therapeutic approaches to treat osteoporosis and accelerate bone regeneration and fracture healing.

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